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wwith him ? and does not the Apostle apply the same promise to every good Christian, Heb. xiii. 5. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee? For where is the difference between these exprellions, I will be with gou, and, I will make iny abode with him ? I will be with you always, and, I will never leave thee nor forfake thee? Is it promised to the church, that the Spirit mall lead her into all truth ? and is not the same promise made to every good man, John xiv. 21. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, be it is that loveth ine ; and be that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father ; and I will love bim, and will manifest inyfélf to him ? that is, God will reveal his will to those that love him, and keep his commandments. Hath God promised to build his church upon a rock? And doth not our Saviour use the same metaphor concerning every man that doth the will of God? Matth. vii. 24. IVhosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them, is like a wise man ihat built his house zipon a rock. So that if to be built upon a rock fignifies infallibility, it belongs to every good man, who fincerely practiscth what he knows, as much as to any church.
When men are enabled by God to work miracles for the confirmation of the doctrines which they deliver, there is great reason to believe that they are infallibly aflisted in the delivery of those doctrines : But without this, it is the vainest thing in the world for an ny person or church to pretend to it; because they offer no evidence fit to latisfy any man that they are so aslifted : And I do not hear that the Pope, among all his privileges, does pretend to the power of miracles.
Secondly, From hence likewise we may infer the great reason of error and infidelity in the world. If any man be an infidel, it is not the fault of his understanding, but of his will; it is not because there is not sufficient evidence that the Christian religion is from God, but because mens interests and lusts make them partial and incompetent judges of matters of religion. The evidence of the Christian religion is such as recommends it to every man's reafun and
conscience ; so that (as St Paul argues) if the gospel be hid, it is hiid to thein that are lost ; in whoin the God of this world hath blinded the ininds of them that be. lieve not, left the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should jhine unto them, 2 Cor.
iv. 3. 4•
If men did but stand indifferent for the entertain. ment of truth, and were not swayed by the interest of any luft or passion, I am confident that no man that hath the gospel fairly proposed to him, would continue an infidel. If men did but truly live up to the principles of natural religion, they would easily be convinced, that the Christian religion, which is so suitable thereto, is from God.
Thirdly and lastly, What hath been said is a great argument and encouragement to obedience, and how liness of life. Do we desire not to be mistaken about the mind of God? Let us heartily endeavour to do his will. If we would not be seduced by the error of the wicked, let us take heed of their vicious practices. The best way certainly to preserve a right judgement in matters of religion, is to take great care of a good life. God's goodness is such, that he will not suffer any man's judgement to be betrayed into a damnable error, without some vice and fault of his will. The principles of natural religion are born with us, and imprinted upon our minds, so that no man can be ignorant of them, nor need to be mistaken about them; and as for those revelations which God hath made of himself to the world, he hath been pleased to accompany them with so much evidence, that an honest and sincere mind may easily discern them from error and imposture. So our Saviour hath assured us, that if any man desire to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.
On the other hand, if we see any oppose the clear truth, or depart from it, and embrace gross errors and delusions, we may almost certainly.conclude, that there is some worldly luft or interest at the bottom of it. So our Saviour has likewise told us, that the reason why men love darkness rather than light, is,
because their deeds are evil ; and every one that dotb. evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, left. his deeds Mould be reproved. I will conclude this whole discourse with St Peter's exhortation, the ad of Pet. iii. 17. 18. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, left ye also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own ftedfasiness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen,
S. ER MON
The nature of covetousness,
LUKE xii. 15.
And he said unto them, Take heed, and heware of co
vetousness; for a man's life confifteth not in the ce bundance of the things which be pleletb.
A Mongena'that is more competities of menthere
is none that is more common and unreasonable, and of a more universal bad influence upon the hearts and lives of men, than this of covetousness; and there, fore in speaking of this vice, I shall strike at the root of a great many others; even of apoftafy from God's truth and religion, of which covetousness, and the love of this present world, is one of the most common causes. So that if I can contribute any thing to the cure of this great distemper of mens minds, I shall in fo doing remove that, which is the cause and occafion of a great part of the evils and mischiefs which are in the world. And to this end I have pitched upon these words of our blessed Saviour to his hearers: And he said unto them, take heed, and
eware of covetousness; for a man's life confifteth not in the abundance of the things which he poflefctb.
In which words are these three things observable :
First, The manner of the caution which our Sa. viour here gives, Take heed, and beware ; he doubles it, to shew the great need and concernment of it.
Secor.dly, The matter of the caution, or the vice which our Saviour here warns his hearers against, and that is covetousaess: Take heed and beware of covetousness.
Thirdly, The reason of this caution, Because a man's life confifleth not in the abundance of the things which he poleseth. Human life is sustained by a little, and therefore abundance is not neceffary, either to the support
or comfort of it. 'Tis not a great estate and vast posseffions that make a man happy in this world ; but a mind that is equal to its condition, whatever it be,
First, The manner of the caution which our Saviour here gives, Take heed, and beware. This is a peculiar kind of caution, and no where else, or upon any o. ther occasion that I know of, used in fcripture; in which, for the greater emphasis and weight, the words of caution are doubled, as if the matter were of so much concernment, that no caution about it could be too much; to fignify to us both the great danger of this fin of covetousness, and the great care men ought to use to preserve themselves from it.
1. The great danger of this fin; how apt we are to fall into this vice; and of how pernicious a' consequence it is to those in whom it reigns.
If, How apt we are to fall into this vice. And excepting those vices which are immediately founded in a man's natural temper and constitution, there is none that men have a more universal propension to, than this of covetousness. For there are two things which human nature does more especially desire to be secured against, which are want and contempt; and riches seem to be a certain remedy against both these evils. And because men think they can never be fufficiently secured against these, therefore their defire of riches grows endless and insatiable: so that unless men be very jealous and watchful over theme
felves, this defire will grow upon them, and enlarge itself beyond all bounds.
2dly, As men are very apt to fall into this vice, so is it of very pernicious consequence to those in whom it reigns. The mischief of it is very great, and very extensive ; so St Paul tells us, i Tim. vi. 8. 9. 10. where he presseth men to be contented with a small competency of the things of this life, because of the great danger and mischief of a covetous mind: Ha. ving food and raiment, let us le therewith content. But they that will be rich, (that is, they are bent and refolved upon being rich), fall into temptation and a fnare, and into many foolish and hurtful lufts, which "drown men in deftruciion and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil. But this I shall speak more fully to, when I come to thew the great evil and unreasonableness of this vice.
2. This earnest kind of caution, as it fignifies the great danger of this fin of covetoufness, To likewise the great care that men ought to use to preserve themfelves from it ; for the greater the danger is in any kind, so much the greater care should be used for the avoiding of it. Men are not fo folicitoudy concerned to defend themselves against a flight mischief; but when a terrible one threatens us, we should be continually upon our guard against it, and fummon all our strength and force to relift it. Thus much for the manber of the caution.
I proceed to the fecond thing to be considered in the text, viz. the matter of the caution, or the vice which our Saviour here warns his hearers against, and that is covetousness ; Take heed, and besware of covea tousness. And in speaking of this, I shall consider these two things. 1. Wherein the nature of this vice consists.
I thall endeavour to ihew the great evil and unreasonablenets of it. I shall be large in both.
I. For the nature of this vice of covetousness. The shortest description that I can give of it is this, that it is an inordinate defire and love of riches ; but when this desire and love are inordinate, is not so easy to be determined. And therefore that we may the bet